ANAHEIM — The first punch was delivered at 8:54 p.m. The last, 9:42. All told, Jaime Munguia Jr. and Gabriel Rosado did not stop during their all-action 12-round WBO intercontinental middleweight title fight at the Honda Center on Saturday.
Mungaia, 25, retained the belt in front of a partisan crowd that roared each time the Tijuana native fired off combinations and responded in kind to the game Rosado.
Judges at ringside scored it unanimously for the Mexican fighter (118-110, 119-109, 117-111).
Fighting 113 miles north of Tijuana, Munguia felt right at home as the crowd responded to every attack he made, every punch he dodged, every power shot he absorbed. Attendees at the Honda Center had many reasons to stand and cheer as Munguia and Rosado, 35, delivered the kind of contest that was anticipated from both men.
Munguia, the unbeaten favorite with Erik Morales in his corner, continued a perfect run at 160 pounds after a stint at junior middleweight, where he held the WBO title.
In his fourth fight at 160, Munguia (38-0, 30 KO) was forced to go the distance for the first time at the weight. The performance further establishes Munguia as a top contender to either WBC champion Jermell Charlo or WBA titlist Demetrius Andrade.
Fighting out of Freddie Roach’s Wild Card Gym in Hollywood, Rosado, a native Philadelphia of Puerto Rican descent, earned the chance to headline the DAZN card when he starched Bektemir Melikuiev in June with picture perfect overhand right that is on the shortlist for KO of the year.
During his 12-rounds with Munguia, Rosado (24-16-1, 15 KO) repeatedly attempted that land that debilitating punch, but even when it connected the champion walked forward.
Rosado’s advances were almost always met by a strong Munguia response, and the champion gave his supporters everything they wanted by coming on strong in the championship rounds to seek a finish even though the cards were clearly in his favor.
The crowd heavily favored Mexican fighters, but that didn’t stop them from chanting the name of 24-year-old Santa Ana-based welterweight Alexis Rocha while he wore down durable Colombian Jeovanis Barraza en route to a ninth-round stoppage.
Rocha, a southpaw, turned up the pressure throughout the 10 rounder by hammering Barraza (23-2, 15 KO) with digging hooks to the body and, later, power shots to the head among the 233 punches he landed.
Rocha (18-1, 12 KO) won each round on the judges’ cards, and the seventh and eighth periods leaned heavily towards the local fighter, prompting referee Ray Corona to protect Barraza and wave off the fight 33 seconds into Round 9.
Judges at ringside were in lock-step for Maryland middleweight D’Mitrius Ballard (21-0-1, 11 KO), whose first fight in 23 months resulted in a trio of 98-92 scorecards and a unanimous decision over Mexico’s Paul Valenzuela Jr. (26-10, 17 KO).
William Zepeda (24-0, 22 KO), of Santa Mateo Atenco, Mexico, retained the WBA continental Americas lightweight title with a technical knockout at 1:59 of Round 4 against Miami’s John Moralde (26-10, 17 KO).
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